As we were walking by the river we came across 'a man and his dog'. Animals are always a good start for a conversation. He told us to visit the oldest pub in Ireland. This had to be a must... and of course another excuse to try out the old Guinness (I think I could get used to this! Hmmmm!!!!!)
I felt a certain privilige, I can't imagine what it must have looked like in it's early days. It was good to come across it by chance in this short space of time whilst driving through. A small museum within.
On the Certificate it reads:
THE OLDEST PUBLIC HOUSE IN IRELAND IS SEAN'S BAR IN ATHLONE, COUNTY WESTMEATH, IRELAND, WHICH CLAIMS TO BE ON THE SITE OF A TAVERN FIRST BUILT IN 900 AD
It's not that long ago that you had to 'book' an international phone call fom many countries. These days we can (wirelessly no less) transfer billions of bits of data in seconds. This can bring us great things like VT or some idiot stapleing is tongue to a desk on YouTube.
The Hodson bay hotel has a rather nice piece of kit on it's foyer wall that played a major part in the development of telecommunications. It is a 15cm section of the first successful transatlantic cable. It stretched from Valentia in kerry all the way to Newfoundland. It operated for exactly 100 years. Some writers have compared that achievement to landing a man on the moon.
The Hodson bay hotel is located a couple of miles north of Athlone and is well-signposted off the Roscommon road. Worth a visit for the view alone.
I was lucky to be staying in the Radisson as, to the right of the carpark, I stumbled upon this unusual and impressive graveyard/Church restoration project.
In Ireland years ago there was a back-to-work programme aoimed at the long term unemployed and this was called AnCO. They also organised a lot of trade training. Anyway, it seems AnCO was responsible for the restoration of this old ruined Church and its graveyard. It's quite an amazing site to see as now the gravestones are used as exhibits and even wall facing around the derelict Church. The large, heavy gravestones have been cleaned up and left i situ.